Budget hawks seek to alter process; appropriators balk

House GOP fiscal conservatives are uniting behind a proposal they say will go further than the administration to tamp down spending.

The bill will be introduced by Reps. Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as early as this week, although that schedule could slip until early next week. The measure aims to overhaul the budget process by embracing recommendations proposed by President Bush in his fiscal 2005 budget, including a binding joint budget resolution, biennial budgeting, line-item spending reductions and an automatic continuing resolution if spending bills are not completed on time.

The conservatives' bill would also provide for a 1 percent decrease in spending each quarter under a CR for all agencies covered by the temporary measure. The measure has already run into opposition from appropriators, who would get a referral to their panel. "It will never see the light of day," a House Appropriations Committee spokesman said.

According to an outline of the draft legislation, the measure would limit the growth of entitlement spending to the rate of inflation and population growth, and cap discretionary spending at the rate of inflation, enforced by budget points of order. If the caps are breached, the bill would trigger across-the-board cuts in many programs, although Medicare, Medicaid, veterans and military benefits and some low-income programs would be limited to just a 2 percent cut, and defense spending would be exempted from cuts for national security reasons.

"We believe the outrage level is getting high enough that we may be able to pass this," Ryan said.

Under the bill, a two-thirds supermajority would be required in both the House and Senate to waive points of order. It would prevent the designation of "emergency" spending to sidestep budget caps, freeze "advance appropriations" at the fiscal 2004 level; sunset all mandatory and discretionary programs in fiscal 2008-2009 with the exception of Social Security, veterans' benefits and a few others; freeze funding for programs with expired authorizations; and allow the president to rescind spending deemed wasteful, subject to congressional approval.

The measure also would prevent the inclusion of additional spending bills outside of the 13 appropriations subcommittees; the fiscal 2004 omnibus included a "miscellaneous" package of add-ons and offsets.

House GOP leaders have not signed off on the package but have signaled their intent to move elements. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, said he was considering bringing a "budget process bill to the floor" this year. He also said Congress ought to scrutinize unauthorized spending.

"We need to take a very hard look at unauthorized programs and see which ones should be funded and which ones should not," he said. House Budget Chairman Jim Nussle, R-Iowa, said his panel also would consider rescissions to curtail spending.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.